Dandydill Way In store

Our founder Tania on why Dandydill Way is the future of children's skincare...

With new launches planned and new high-end stockists about to onboard, 2024 looks to have much in store for Dandydill Way. We sat down with Tania Rodney, the brand founder to discover what inspired her vision for the brand, her "pinch me” moments and what she hopes for the future.

Is there a particular person, moment in time or experience that inspired you to launch Dandydill Way?

My daughter Billie. She changed the course of my life and creating Dandydill Way came from an understanding that all parents want to give their child the very best care they can. I travelled a lot with her as a baby and found many lovely products for newborns wherever we went. As she got a little older, it became much harder. I was searching for something more considered than the cartoon-branded, mass market products; something more accessible, more British and more natural than the luxury French designer brands. I decided that I couldn't be the only parent that wanted to take exceptional care of my child's skin and hair and, if it didn't exist, I could create it.

How do you think that your previous career as a celebrity makeup artist played into the brand?

I think it filtered through into Dandydill Way in many ways, particularly by reinforcing how important it is to have a clear brand proposition. Surprisingly, it was Simon Cowell that had a big influence on how I envisaged the brand! I worked with a group that had a timeless aesthetic with global appeal that Simon had put together and was carefully managing. When I started to create Dandydill Way I was inspired to create something quintessentially British; classic and with international appeal, as Simon had so successfully done. In my case this meant representing the best of what is on offer both in terms of our high-quality manufacturing industry and our beautiful countryside, producing something that families would appreciate, wherever they lived. Working with artists also gave me a unique opportunity to study skin and hair up close and understand the challenges and triggers that cause sensitivity. I was sent every type of product to use on artists for a magazine shoot rather than an influencer post was the way to promote a make up or skin care brand) so I got to trial lots of different ingredients. When my daughter was born I wanted to give her the most exceptional care in every way I could and I knew that a sophisticated, elegant and allergen free skin and hair care for children was not yet available.

The brand has been inspired by your own upbringing and is dubbed "eco-chic”. Can you explain this a little more for us?

We want to balance sophisticated and efficacious formulas with allergen free, non-irritating ingredients and make products in the UK to the highest standards. Dandydill Way celebrates children's curiosity, love of nature and imagination and inspires them to learn independence and self care in a fun, trustworthy and enjoyable way. While the formulas were evolving it felt really important to bring something of my own upbringing to the range. My mother was an incredibly knowledgeable gardener and understood the beneficial properties of plants and she conveyed some of that understanding to me. I was allowed a lot of freedom as a child and played out all day, building dens, wading in the streams and picking wild berries and nuts to eat. I wanted to capture the essence of this freedom as well as the wild British countryside in the products. Indeed, Dandydill Way celebrates a very unique aspect of the wild British countryside by using professionally foraged, wild grown hawthorn berry botanical extracts and a delicate all-natural scent as well as more than 97% naturally derived ingredients. Our forager is based in Herefordshire, on the Welsh Borders and close to the Black Mountains. She is spearheading this amazing movement that harks back to a time when we had a much closer relationship with nature and the seasons.  I am so pleased that by using wild berries we are helping to encourage children to learn about native British ingredients that may have fallen out of favour but that our ancestors would have used for their therapeutic or nutritional properties. We also wanted to capture something of childhood imagination with our whimsical and playful packaging and yet we wanted to ensure that the packaging was chic enough for even the most discerning and elegant bathroom shelf!

How long did the start up process take you from idea to conception? Were there any particular highlights or challenges during this time?

It took five years of research, development, trial and error for the seed of an idea to blossom into Dandydill Way. I allowed it to evolve slowly and surely because there were so many aspects to consider, particularly during the development of the formulations. At times it felt as if we were never going to get there but the periods of enforced waiting were vital to the finished products. I have learned that highlights can turn into challenges and vice versa, which definitely helps manage the highs and lows of running a business!

Do you think the parenting market is well served with natural products, and what should parents look out for on the ingredients labels?

I think parents of babies and younger children are well served with natural products but as they get older children will obviously want to express their own opinions and make their own choices. It helps to find brands that don't patronise children and don't make parents' toes curl! Babies have thinner skin than adults and will therefore absorb more of the ingredients. In the UK and Europe, the ingredients that are permitted to be used in baby and child products are regulated, so parents can be reasonably assured that what is available to buy on the shelf is suitable if it is labelled for children. Of course, babies and children can have sensitive skin just as adults do and many parents will avoid fragrances, sulphates, dyes and other "nasties” as well as allergens such as essential oils. I would advise parents of children with sensitive skin to stay clear of essential oils as they can be highly irritating and contain allergens. (These are highlighted in bold at the end of the ingredients list on the label.) Watch out for "green washing”, where brands overstate their eco-credentials, such as labelling a product "organic” when only a tiny percentage of the ingredients are from organic farming. It can be difficult to understand that "artificial” doesn't always mean unsafe or harsh and "natural” can sometimes be less than gentle.

Why do you think the brand has become popular with celebrity mums? Celebrity parents are not any different from other parents in that they all want to find products that help them take exceptional care of their children (but for many of them who are also insta-present, they will want products that will have shelf appeal!). They will also want products that are kind to the environment and therefore take exceptional care of their children's future too. Dandydill Way not only offers beautifully packaged products that encourage children to consider what they are using to keep their skin clean and healthy with a beautiful glow, we’re also encouraging them to be mindful of how their choices will affect the world they are growing up in. Ocean Prevented Plastic, recycled plastic as well as sustainable and carefully chosen ingredients come as standard with our brand. It is the combination of the celebration of British heritage, the natural skin-loving credentials and beautiful, elegant packaging that has led to Dandydill Way has become popular with celebrity mums such as Storm Keating, Pearl and Daisy Lowe and Victoria Beckham! In fact, Victoria cited the "clean” aspect of our products. She is a beauty and fashion icon and understands that carefully chosen, naturally derived ingredients without unnecessary additions are where the future of beauty lies.

What's the future look like at Dandydill way?

The future of Dandydill Way is looking bright and sunny! We have been focussed on minimising our environmental impact and with this in mind, we are incorporating more Prevented Ocean Plastic in our bottles. Our distribution channels in the Middle East and Asia are growing fast as families there discover our irresistible formulas and we are planning new and exciting product launches for 2024.

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